Everybody certainly understands this experience. You recognize aspects of your life in which you seem to fall short and where you hope to improve. Perhaps you have a problem with procrastination, or inability to manage your time well, or a lack of self-confidence in social situations. Unfortunately, overcoming such problems takes time and effort, as well as simply recognizing and admitting a need for improvement. The result is… procrastination.
You need some motivation to make a commitment to expend the time and energy to work on the problem. Social nudity might give you the incentive to work on a particular difficulty: some lack of self-confidence in social situations.
This isn’t going to be a pep talk on building self-confidence. But if you see a need to work on that, and if you would like to become more involved with social nudity, there are some ways that the latter goal can help motivate the former goal – and even provide some means to address the problem.
One reason people lack self-confidence in doing something is that they understand, quite realistically, that they haven’t sufficiently developed the necessary skills. And this realization leads to something else: the fear of failure in how they perform in the relevant area. In other words, people feel vulnerable when they attempt to do something they know is difficult for them.
We’ve discussed vulnerability before, and specifically in connection with nudity here. There’s still more that can usefully be said about the topic, but for the present purpose, let’s assume the idea is pretty clear: Most people think that being naked in front of others, most of whom may be strangers, puts them in a rather vulnerable position. If nothing else, that prospect suggests a large potential for embarrassment, because of body acceptance issues, fears of not knowing the proper etiquette in social nudity situations, worrying about starting conversations, or whatever.
In this discussion, the assumption is that you’re somewhat new to social nudity. If you’ve read this far, it should be safe to assume that you are fairly interested in trying out social nudity, if you haven’t already, or expanding your involvement, if you have. In that case, you’ve probably know that participating in social nudity is something you want to do. So there’s the motivation to get to work on your naked self-confidence. What’s the next step?
Perhaps that step would be to recognize that if you are able to set your fears aside and actually venture further into social nudity then that participation itself will help you overcome shyness and lack of self-confidence. Here are some reasons for that:
- Someone who is interested in social nudity, but is worried about taking the first steps, may decide to work on his/her shyness, insecurity, and self-confidence issues even before getting involved – because there is now sufficient motivation to do that.
- Deciding to get involved in social nudity at all demonstrates a willingness to confront vulnerability and fear of failure. Knowing that you’ve managed to take the first step with few or no unpleasant results gives you more confidence in taking further steps.
- When you are naked with others in a social nudity situation, you automatically have something in common with them that is fairly unusual. This means you don’t need to be ashamed or embarrassed about the fact you enjoy being naked. You and others have a shared understanding of something that is unfamiliar to most people in our society, so there’s no need to explain or rationalize it. You’ve also found ways to cope with our society’s misunderstandings about social nudity, and you can share those with others.
- As a direct result of the preceding point, you automatically have many excellent topics for conversation starters. Difficulty in starting conversations with strangers may be one of the main reasons people lack self-confidence in social situations. A good way to tackle this problem is to develop a short list of questions for starting conversations. For example: What other good nudist/naturist resorts have you visited? Do you know any good skinny-dipping or nude hiking places around here? How did you get involved with social nudity to begin with? And so on. (Perhaps this would be a good topic to write more about.)
- Other participants in social nudity usually enjoy talking with others about their mutual interest. For one thing, this helps validate their (unusual for our society) enjoyment of being naked with others. And it also leads to useful exchanges of worthwhile information. As a result, conversations are usually pleasant and almost effortless.
- If you have body acceptance concerns, you will find that other social nudists probably have similar concerns – so they will not be overly critical of any aspect of your body you’re unhappy with. You may be motivated to work on dealing with any such aspects, or else learn to accept your body the way it is.
- Because enjoyment of social nudity is far from the norm in our society, people who participate actively in it tend to be open-minded and tolerant of divergent opinions about other things as well. (That’s not guaranteed, but fairly likely.) So you may be justified in feeling more open to discussing your preferences and opinions about other things besides nudity as well.
- People who participate in social nudity do so because it’s enjoyable. Unless they are rather insensitive to others, they will try to be courteous and polite to you and others, so as not to spoil anyone else’s fun. Actual insensitivity is unlikely, since being naked around others generally requires one to make extra effort to understand others’ feelings and not to offend them. Deliberately making others feel bad isn’t conducive to one’s own satisfaction – in most cases.
- Getting involved in social nudity generally requires people to come to terms with touchy personal issues, such as feelings about sexuality, personal relationship problems, personality issues, body acceptance, and so forth. If such issues have been dealt with successfully, to some extent or other, and you’ve overcome inhibitions related to nudity, talking about these issues is easier. So it’s less stressful and more fruitful to discuss them openly with other people – especially other people who are also naked and generally understanding about such issues.
- People who have participated in social nudity for awhile have usually been successful in dealing with the personal issues mentioned in the last point. This tends to make such people friendlier and less defensive with others. So you will generally find other social nudists easy to get along with. (Although this is usually true in person, it’s less of a sure thing with online interactions. So don’t assume that unpleasant interactions online will be repeated in person.)
Keep in mind that not all social nudity situations are the same as far as meeting others are concerned. At nude beaches, for instance, many people are there to enjoy the beach, not to socialize. Always try to respect other people’s space. Private parties and events at nudist resorts are good places to meet new people. Private meetings of nonlanded clubs are also good, usually, if you inquire in advance. Such clubs are often eager to have new members. When in doubt, try to have someone you’ve already met introduce you to others.
Also keep in mind that there’s no guarantee everyone you meet at social nudity events will be considerate, friendly, and pleasant. (Especially at places like nude beaches, where people with ulterior motives may be present.) Nobody’s perfect; everyone has bad days from time to time. If you should encounter some unpleasantness, don’t take it personally. Just move on and introduce yourself to others.
Try to bring an interested friend with you, if at all possible, for support and encouragement.
If you aren’t satisfied with you self-confidence in social situations – of any type, not just social nudity – the confidence you build in social nudity should apply more broadly. And don’t forget the saying attributed to Confucius: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”